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Reality “Star” Paychecks, So Much For So Little?

Updated on May 9, 2011

While flipping channels the other night, my television landed on the show Extra, or The Insider or one of the many annoying supposed “entertainment” shows that really discuss very little about entertainment and more about Jon Gosselin who while some may find entertaining, I just find sad…really sad. At any rate, they began to talk about the salaries of people who appear on television reality shows. Now as a somewhat Insider myself (that’s right kids, I know people “in the biz” as it were) I knew that certain F List celebrities who go on reality shows bring home a six digit paycheck but what many might not know is that those six digits are not only for Mr. Jefferson (twenty years after his show went off the air) but for the blonde, somewhat beautiful, insipid idiots that currently appear on reality television with no real credits to their name other than just that, the reality show they’re doing. That’s right, the blondes from The Hills reportedly get somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 to $125,000 per episode (the guys on that show apparently top out at a mere $65,000 per episode)! As I don’t watch that show I find it difficult to believe that these gals could be worth it but then I started asking myself if any of these people are worth it? Reality “Star” paychecks – so much for so little? – Don’t Get Me Started!

We all get why producers can afford to pay their reality stars more than real actors get for television shows because the producer doesn’t have to pay a script writer (paying them residuals, royalties, etc.) or anyone else for that matter other than the people on the show, the crew, and a really patient editor that has to go through about forty hours of nothing video and magically create a show filled with drama and intrigue each week. And I’m sure that the producers are walking away with a lot more money too without those extra salaries to pay.

And when you see how people parlay their “celebrity” from a small reality show appearance into an actual career of sorts you have to wonder if there isn’t a market for sending a kid to a reality television casting coach instead of college at this point. Imagine it, it would be a lot less upfront money and if your kid gets on a reality show then they would not only not have college student loans but they may actually be able to buy you a swanky house like a rap star. Of course there’s always the danger like the story I read about some little known but supposedly made a crap load of money rap star’s wife who once he was killed (is that considered “in the line of duty” I guess) that she is now homeless with their five children. I guess he wasn’t as famous as Tupac and that she couldn’t hock the diamond encrusted medallion or earrings those rappers wear to pay the mortgage on their three million dollar house that they couldn’t really afford anyway. Should we feel sorry for her that she couldn’t keep the payments up on her Maybach? Maybe the government can bail her out?

Like it or not kids, fame is fleeting. I’m all for people making “hay while the sun shines” (or in my case, making “gay” while the sun shines – hello, reality producers are you reading and getting how great I’d be?) but the inevitable fact is that unless you really have some sort of talent (hello, Tony Bennett recently signing a ten million dollar recording deal) you may make a few million if your reality show stays on television long enough but in the long run you’ll become a footnote on Wikipedia sooner than later. You will be the new generation of star kids who were once famous, put all their money into drugs or press agents and sycophants who will suck you dry and leave you like a Dirk Diggler from the movie Boogie Nights, selling your dick to people on the street once your heyday has passed. The only difference is that while we can all remember how cute Dana Plato was on Different Strokes and feel a little bad that she ended up being a small time criminal drug addict, losing her battle and life to addiction in a mobile home, I never thought Heidi and Spencer were all that lovable or cute. So if they lose all their teeth and end up working at a dry cleaner I’m really not going to care. (And I suspect no one else will either)

So sure, it seems like a good plan to give up trying to find something your talented at and working hard at it making a career and a life for yourself for the sake of your fifteen minutes of fame and fortune but be warned that at the end of most red carpets is not the pot of gold like leprechauns promised at the end of the rainbow, no once you’re no longer interesting on the red carpet you fall into oblivion or worse, you end up on a VH1 special, “Whatever happened to those reality stars we never really cared about anyway?” Omarosa are you listening? Reality “Star” paychecks – so much for so little? – Don’t Get Me Started!



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    • Carmen Borthwick profile image

      Carmen Borthwick 8 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      Another reason not to watch is the dang hosts are sooooo annoying! Liked the hub somelikeit.

    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 8 years ago from Las Vegas

      mward - you may feel better to know that on competition reality shows where there is a cash prize, the contestants get a lot less money. Still do the people on Survivor deserve less money on the whole than the Housewives of wherever? I don't know.

    • mward1125 profile image

      mward1125 8 years ago from Arizona

      Nice--couldn't agree more! It seems you can't turn on the TV anymore without one of those show hitting you in the face; I didn't know they paid them so much. Glad I went back to watching DVDs (although I will admit to watching Top Chef, but at least they have to cook).